State Bar Asks For Reversal Of Disclosure Rule

Sep 12, 2013

The State Bar of Michigan says it’s time to end anonymous campaign spending in elections for judges and Supreme Court justices.

As The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta reports, it’s asking the state’s top elections official to require committees that pay for so-called “issue ads” to reveal their donors.

That would require Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to reverse a 2004 rule that says the independent committees can keep their donors secret.

Bruce Cortade is the president of the State Bar of Michigan. He says anonymous campaign spending undermines confidence in the legal system. And it is growing more common.

“During the last election cycle, with the Supreme Court elections, three-quarters of the money that was spent on the Supreme Court election could not be traced,” he says.

Cortade says the State Bar cannot by its own rules take a position on anonymous campaign spending in other races. The Secretary of State’s office says a decision should be made within three months.